Tuesday, June 15, 2010

master meals, week 8: tony mantuono's crespelle with ricotta and marinara

crespelle with ricotta and marinara sauce

So, Top Chef Masters ended its season last week, with Ethiopean born Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson narrowly edging out Rick Moonen and Susur Lee. If you've been reading along, you may be thinking "hmm... this Master Meals series thingie didn't feature two of those three finalists." You'd be right, and I'm afraid that's not going to change. We kind of fell off the bandwagon the final two weeks of the season, partly because Marcus and Susur's food is a bit removed from our culinary comfort zones, and partially because I had a Yelp event with free food one Wednesday and that killed our momentum. So, we skipped cooking entirely the second to last week, and then last Wednesday we made chicken marsala instead of a master meal (we'll eventually get around to blogging about that too, I'm sure).

For now, I'm going to talk about this awesome dish by Tony Mantuono, Obama's favorite chef. Crespelle are really fun to make, like little crepes, only not quite as thin and therefore less delicate and difficult to perfect. The batter was particularly easy to prepare. Simply combine the wet ingredients (two eggs and three quarters cup milk) with the dry (three quarters cup flour and a half teaspoon salt), and then stir in a tablespoon of melted butter. Aside from the instructions to cover the crespelle batter and let it sit in the fridge for an hour, this recipe was really quick to prepare as well.

I fried the crespelle for three minutes each in a frying pan rubbed with an olive oil soaked paper towel. I wound up with only six of them, because I didn't have a quarter cup with which to measure the batter. They are like thin pancakes. Then Nathan and I spread each crespelle with a mix of ricotta, parmesan, parsley and cracked black peppper and folded them into quarters. Nate had made up some tasty tomato sauce, so we spread half of that in the bottom of our baking pan, and put the crespelles on top. Another layer of sauce, some parsley and extra grated cheese, and we simply popped the pan into the oven for 25 minutes.

oven baked crespelle

Nathan will disagree with me but I think this dish blows a simple lasagna, (which will also be making a blog appearance one of these days), out of the water. It's like an easy manicotti. So good!

getting ready to plate


  1. This was kinda fun to make, and I guess the fact that they are little folded crepes is interesting, but ultimately these were sorta boring. If you had nothing to do with the preparation and ate them with a blindfold on you'd be pretty unimpressed. Not bad but for the same amount of effort, and even using the same ingredients, you could do a lot better.

  2. Spoiler re Top Chef Masters season finale, which I planned to watch tonight. C'est la vie, I guess.

  3. They sound delicious to me!

  4. sorry Tenli!

    Joy, don't listen to Nathan. This was a fun and tasty spin on a traditional pasta dish, and I really liked it.